What is an Occupancy Certificate?
An Occupancy Certificate is a document that is issued by the Building Control sub-directorate in accordance with the National Building Regulations to certify that a building has been completed in accordance with the approved building plan and all other relevant City Council requirements (for example, the installation of fire fighting equipment to the approval of the Fire Department, payment of all fees and contributions, approved water and electricity connections etc.).
Arrange with the Chief Building Inspector for your area for the issuing of an Occupancy Certificate once your building work is complete, a final inspection has been conducted by the Building Inspector, and all other Council requirements have, to the best of your knowledge, been complied with.
Occupation Certificates – who needs them?
The Occupational Certificate specifies the type of building – freestanding, terraced, cluster complex, town house complex, apartment or commercial building. The Certificate is required before water and electricity deposits can be accepted for newly built properties.
It is against the law to sell a property without
1) a full set of approved plans / planning permission from Council and
2) an Occupation Certificate.
In order to get an Occupation Certificate from Council you will need:
1.Approved building plans from the Municipality, plus any documentation from Town Planning regarding rezoning, building line relaxation, consent etc., and if necessary, an approved Site Development Plan (SDP).
2.Completion Certificate from a registered structural / civil engineer – this is for the foundations, concrete slabs, staircases, wooden / suspended floors, steel work, soofs, freestanding walls over 2.1m high, swimming pools and all structures built without prior planning permission.
3.Certificate (Roof Truss) – your truss supplier / installer should provide you with certification, alternatively consult your engineer.
4.IOPSA Certificate of Compliance (Institute of Plumbing South Africa) – this is required for all plumbing / drainage / sewerage work. It can only be issued by a registered plumber – for more information visit www.iopsa.co.za
5.Glazing Certificate – your glazier will supply you with Certification.
6.Electrical Certificate of Compliance – this can only be issued by a registered Electrician.
7.Fire Certificate – this is required for all public buildings and buildings using flammable materials e.g. wood or thatch roofs.
To avoid delays / additional engineering fees etc. at the end of your building project – it is best to contact the Building Inspector prior to starting your building. The Building Inspector will want to conduct the following inspections:
1.Trench / Foundation Inspection – prior to concrete being poured.
2.Wall / Structure Inspections – at floor level, lintel height and roof level.
3.Drain Inspection – before connection to the municipal water / sewerage system and prior to infilling.
4.Concrete Slab inspection (if applicable) – before concrete poured.
Your local Municipality, Builder or Architect will provide you with your Building Inspectors contact details. It is best to call for appointments etc. before 10am whilst they are still in the office.
Once you have got your Occupation Certificate you will need to lodge copies with your bank (if the property is mortgaged) and your home / property insurance provider. This will save a lot of time in the event of a fire / flood etc.
NATIONAL BUILDING REGULATIONS AND BUILDING STANDARDS ACT NO. 103 OF 1977
14 Certificates of Occupancy in Respect of Buildings(1) A local authority shall within 14 days after the owner of a building of which the erection has been completed, or any person having an interest therein, has requested it in writing to issue a certificate of occupancy in respect of such building-
(a) issue such certificate of occupancy if it is of the opinion that such building has been erected in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the conditions on which approval was granted in terms of section 7, and if certificates issued in terms of the provisions of subsection (2) and where applicable, subsection (2A), in respect of such building have been submitted to it;
[Para. (a) substituted by s. 7 (a) of Act 62 of 1989.]
(b) in writing notify such owner or person that it refuses to issue such certificate of occupancy if it is not so satisfied or if a certificate has not been so issued and submitted to it.
(1A) The local authority may, at the request of the owner of the building or any other person having an interest therein, grant permission in writing to use the building before the issue of the certificate of occupancy referred to in subsection (1), for such period and on such conditions as may be specified in such permission, which period and conditions may be extended or altered, as the case may be, by such local authority.
[Sub-s. (1A) inserted by s. 7 (b) of Act 62 of 1989.]
(2) Any person licensed or authorized by a local authority to carry out the installation, alteration or repair of any electrical wiring connected or of which connection is desired with the electrical supply or distribution works of such local authority or any statutory body, shall, at the request of the owner of a building of which the erection has been completed or of any person having an interest therein or of the local authority, issue a certificate if he is satisfied that the electrical wiring and other electrical installations in such building are in accordance with the provisions of all applicable laws;[Sub-s. (2) substituted by s. 4 (a) of Act 49 of 1995.](2A) Upon completion of the erection or installation of-(a) the structural system; or(b) the fire protection system; or(c) the fire installation system,of any building the person appointed to design such system and to inspect the erection or installation, shall submit a certificate to the local authority indicating that such system has been designed and erected or installed in accordance with the application in respect of which approval was granted in terms of section 7.
[Sub-s. (2A) inserted by s. 7 (c) of Act 62 of 1989 and substituted by s. 4 (b) of Act 49 of 1995.]
(3) Any person who for the purposes of subsection (1)-
(a) submits a certificate contemplated in subsection (2) or (2A) which is substantially false or incorrect, knowing the same to be false or incorrect; or
(b) in a fraudulent manner issues or obtains a certificate contemplated in subsection (2) or
(2A),shall be guilty of an offence.
[Sub-s. (3) substituted by s. 4 (c) of Act 49 of 1995.]
22 of 127 NATIONAL BUILDING REGULATIONS AND BUILDING STANDARDS ACT NO. 103 OF 1977 (as amended )
permits the occupation or use of such building-
(i) unless a certificate of occupancy has been issued in terms of subsection (1)(a) in
respect of such building;
(ii) except in so far as it is essential for the erection of such building;
(iii) during any period not being the period in respect of which such local authority has granted permission in writing for the occupation or use of such building or in contravention of any condition on which such permission has been granted; or,
(iv) otherwise than in such circumstances and on such conditions as may beprescribed by national building regulation, shall be guilty of an offence.
[Para. (b) deleted by s. 7 (d) of Act 62 of 1989.]
(5) The Minister may, on such conditions and for such period as he may think fit, by notice in the Gazette suspend the application of this section in the area of jurisdiction of any local authority.
Copyright © 2008 – M. Keuter – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 SouthAfricaLicense.
Written by Meyer de Waal
Meyer de Waal (B Prok – University of the Orange Freestate) was admitted as an attorney, conveyancer and notary by the High Court of South Africa (Cape Provincial Division) in 1988. Meyer is the director at Oosthuizen & Co Meyer de Waal in Cape Town.
He concentrates on Property Law, Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning.